BRAZIL’S SHARP TURN

As expected, Jair Bolsonaro and Fernando Haddad have advanced to the second round of Brazil’s presidential election, which will be held on October 28. There were two surprises. First, with 46 percent of the vote, the surging Bolsonaro nearly won without the need for a runoff. Second, in the country’s congressional elections, a populist wave has lifted his once-obscure Social Liberal Party (PSL) to new heights.


Bolsonaro, a controversial law-and-order candidate, will probably win the head-to-head matchup with Haddad later this month, but his extreme unpopularity with voters on the left will help Haddad make it closer than the first-round margin might suggest.

The bottom line: Another set of voters has demanded dramatic change. Just as establishment figures in the United States, France, Germany, Italy, Mexico, Pakistan, and Sweden have lost significant ground to fresh faces and new parties over the past two years, Brazilians have sent familiar presidential candidates, incumbent governors, and long-time lawmakers packing.

It’s clear that the worst recession in the country’s history, its largest-ever public corruption scandal, and one of the world’s highest murder rates have taken a heavy toll on the country’s political elite. Bolsonaro appears to be the beneficiary, and his likely victory on October 28 will shift the country’s government further from the emphasis on poverty alleviation and inclusion of the Workers Party governments of the past toward a focus on conservative social values and an increasingly tough-minded (sometimes brutal) approach to law enforcement.

Now for the catch: Change costs money, and the new president, probably Bolsonaro, won’t have much to work with. About two-thirds of Brazil’s federal budget is automatically directed toward payment of pensions, public health care, and the salaries of government workers. If more money is to go toward badly needed investment in the country’s tumble-down infrastructure or to help police restore order in the country’s largest cities, entitlement reform is crucial. That means building a political coalition to change the country’s constitution.

Bolsonaro’s party will increase the number of its seats from 8 to 52 in Brazil’s 513-member lower house of Congress, but unless the tough-talking new chief executive is willing to cut deals with a large number of lawmakers in a large number of different political parties, and fight to prevent the legislative watering down of painful spending reforms—and unless a new president despised by a significant number of citizens can persuade them that austerity is necessary, some of Brazil’s biggest problems won’t be addressed.

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The answer, yes. Why? One, it's personal. Many have watched with horror the wildfires that took place recently. Others have even been evacuated. And for some, the snow set in Davos, they experienced incredibly mild temperatures that laid all to quip that climate change really has arrived. But the other reasons are a growing understanding of the nature of climate change.

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Welcome to the eleventh parliamentary elections in Iran's 40-year history.

Want to run for a seat? You can…if you're an Iranian citizen between the ages of 30 and 75, hold a master's degree or its equivalent, have finished your military service (if you're a man), and have demonstrated a commitment to Islam. Check all these boxes, and you can ask permission to run for office.

Permission comes from the 12-member Guardian Council, a body composed of six clerics appointed by Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei and six jurists that Khamenei appoints indirectly. If the Council says yes, you can win a seat in parliament. If they say no, you can't.

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As the head of a leading management consulting firm, global managing partner of McKinsey & Company Kevin Sneader has an inside view into the challenges facing the world's top executives. Every Thursday, Sneader will address questions about key issues like attracting and retaining talent, growing revenue, navigating change, staying ahead of the competition, and corporate responsibility – all in 60 seconds.

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